Arhoolie Foundation receives NEA grant to establish Lydia Mendoza virtual museum

A virtual museum will be created to showcase the life, music, and impact of the first 'Queen of Tejano Music'

Courtesy: Twitter / Arhoolie Foundation

The Arhoolie Foundation has been approved for a $25,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support further development of the Arhoolie Foundation website. This project will help maintain, expand, and enhance the Foundation’s virtual museum of rare recordings, interviews, photos, and ephemera documenting America’s diverse roots music traditions.


One of those virtual museums will showcase Tejano music legend, Lydia Mendoza.

RELATED: How Lydia Mendoza, the First Queen of Tejano Music, Crossed Borders and Shaped a Tradition

The Arhoolie Foundation shared the news in a statement via Twitter today. “We are excited to announce that the National Endowment for the Arts has approved the Arhoolie Foundation for a grant to create ‘La Alondra de la Frontera’ website: Showcasing the Life, Music, and Impact of Lydia Mendoza, the Queen of Tejano Music,” read the statement. “Working with Lydia’s family, friends, and the pictures, posters, music, and interviews in our Frontera Collection, we will create a site to see and hear directly from Lydia and her family,”

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The project is among 1,130 projects across the country, totaling more than $31 million, that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2023 funding.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation with these grants, including the Arhoolie Foundation, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, Ph.D. “The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”

The Arhoolie Foundation’s website ( provides access to the life’s work of founder Chris Strachwitz and his label, Arhoolie Records, which was acquired by Smithsonian Folkways in 2016. The website—a virtual museum—plays a critical role in the Foundation’s mission to keep blues, Cajun, zydeco, gospel, jazz, Tejano/Norteno, old-time, and other tradition-based music styles alive and equitably accessible.

“American roots music is part of the soul of our country. Sharing information, music, photos, and interviews with the tradition leaders from the past and presenting contemporary artists is core to the work of the Arhoolie Foundation,” said John Leopold, Managing Director of the Arhoolie Foundation. “We are grateful for the support from the National Endowment for the Arts.”

For more information on other projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit

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